2022 Subaru BRZ Limited: All the buzz?

Price: $31,455 as tested. The Limited trim means heated seats, blind spot detection, and more safety stuff, and bendy headlights.

Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes that it’s “still small and light, stronger and more responsive flat-four engine, delightful handling traits,” but not “some generic styling bits, still not the quickest car in town, firm ride doesn’t qualify as refined.”

Marketer’s pitch: “Sports car purity. Subaru DNA.”

Reality: A buzzy little rocket, super fun, and nicely priced, but not without its drawbacks.

What’s new: The little sporty coupé shared by Subaru and Toyota (as the GR86) gets a rocking new Subaru engine and is getting lots of notice in the media.

Up to speed: And, whoo boy, does that new engine pack a punch. A team of 228 horses pulling this little sports car — well, pushing it, actually, as it’s rear-wheel drive — means a lot of motivation. The BRZ gets to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, according to Motor Trend, shaving more than a second from the other version’s time.

Shifty: A clutch. Six gears. Heaven?

Well, nearly. The clutch takes a little getting used to, and it does have a long throw for one’s left foot.

And the gears are pretty high ratios, so the BRZ is running close to 3,400 rpm at highway speeds. Granted, I’m talking U.S. 202 pandemic-era highway speeds, so I’m hesitant to give an exact figure. But it’s high.

For people who really don’t deserve this car, a six-speed automatic is also available.

On the road: Yeehaw! Turn off that traction control because we’re sliding into second, baby! This little unit makes all the curves a delight, and the dips and humps, too.

And yet the highway driving was not too bad. The Subaru didn’t connect with every 202 highway seam and leave Mr. Driver’s Seat’s jaw stiff.

Busted: But watch out for those Pennsylvania-sized potholes, sports car fans, because Mr. Driver’s Seat ruptured one of the tires on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in the country. And, of course, there’s no spare, so if the Fix a Flat doesn’t work, it’s an Uber for you and a flatbed for your faithful companion. (Actually, the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat rescued me — my hero!)

Driver’s Seat: It’s way down to BRZ town, and you’re looking up at the front bumpers at passing Sequoias. But once you manage to shrink yourself down far enough to get inside, the seat itself is stupendous. The Lovely Mrs. — not at all a sports-car fan — kept raving about the comfort, support, and cradling of the red-and-black Ultrasuede big-winged loungers.

One drawback — bags and such need to go in the back when someone comes along for the ride, and tilting the seat forward to access the rear ends in sadness, because the seat back does not automatically return to its original position. So then the next drive begins with a really graceless, fumbling entrance. Park this car around the block if you want to impress people at the party or the restaurant, because there is no smooth way to get in or out.

The cruise control uses an old-fashioned Toyota stalk, and it works as simply as ever. Gauges are like something out of the Mazda2, so they’re adequate, but parts of the dashboard could be obscured by the steering wheel depending on how I adjusted the seat.

Friends and stuff: I spent a week afraid to get in the backseat. I really feared I was going to pull something.

I finally took the plunge and inserted myself into Row 2. I was pleasantly surprised by how much room there actually is. The front seat has a spot for feet to slide underneath, surprisingly, and knee room isn’t so bad. Headroom requires a bit of tucking inside the rear window. It’s sort of sardine-comfortable.

Of course, Mr. Driver’s Seat is just 5-foot-10 and was set up behind the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat, who’s only 5-5.

Cargo space is a snug 6.3 cubic feet, but the rear seat folds down, creating almost a trunk. But not bad for a sports car.

Play some tunes: Sadly, you won’t be able to take the rear row passengers’ minds off their troubles with the awesome sound system — this is one of the worst I’ve endured in ages. In a matter of two songs, I dealt with thudding bass and then whiny treble. (And, heaven knows, only I should be the whiny treblemaker along for the ride.) I’d call this a C-, but I think that’s an offense to C-minuses.

Bright side: Operation of the system is a snap.

Keeping warm and cool: Dials control the temperature and fan speed, and buttons inside them control the source. It’s all as retro as the gauges, but it works well.

Fuel economy: You’d think this little machine would do better than 25 mpg, though. This engine is not Subaru’s most efficient, so that’s sad.

Where it’s built: Gunma, Japan

How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts the reliability to be a 3 out of 5.

In the end: Where have you been all my Driver’s Seat life? I guess I’ll save some money for a replacement stereo.